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MLB Rumors: Latest Updates on Pursuit of Coveted Outfielder B.J. Upton

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 03:  Outfielder B.J. Upton #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays motions to the bench during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field on October 3, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images
Mike HoagCorrespondent IINovember 15, 2012

 

B.J. Upton officially declined the Tampa Bay Rays’ one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer last week. That’s made him one of the most sought-after commodities on the MLB free-agent landscape.

Since then, there’s been a few contending teams interesting in making a run at the center fielder.

Upton hit .246/.298/.454 with a career-high 28 homers and also stole 31 bases last season for the Rays.

Regardless of your opinion of his value, Upton currently has a buzz around him and teams are going to do what it takes to secure the multi-talented leadoff man’s talents.

His late-season surge in Tampa Bay surely didn’t do anything to lower the asking price he’s looking for this winter.

Take a look at the latest from around the league.

 

Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves have reportedly made Upton their top free-agent target, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com (via Twitter). They were also interested in Torii Hunter, but he signed with the Tigers on Wednesday.

With Michael Bourn hitting free agency, the team has chosen to pursue a different avenue by looking to bring in Upton. Both are good fielders and dangerous baserunners, but Upton’s potential at the plate makes him a more appealing option for a contending NL team.

That means inking him to a deal may be even more of an imperative for the Braves this winter.

 

Philadelphia Phillies

Last week, the Phillies’ GM Ruven Amaro Jr. was reportedly in contact with Larry Reynolds, Upton’s agent, during the league’s GM meetings in Arizona.

One executive at the meetings said that signing Upton is the Phillies’ top offseason priority, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.

Phillies shortstop Ryan Hollins said Upton would be a welcome addition if he is in fact the right-handed bat that the team brings in this offseason, according to an interview he gave CSNPhilly.com on Nov. 14.

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